Wednesday, October 10, 2018

What is Ashwagandha, Benefits and Side Effects of Ashwagandha | The Ultimate Beginner's Guide - Health and Fitness City

 

What is Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha is a plant. The root and berry are used to make medicine.
Ashwagandha has a lot of uses. But so far, there isn't enough information to judge whether it is effective for any of them. 

Ashwagandha is used for arthritis, anxiety, bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), balance, obsessive-compulsive dirorder (OCD), trouble sleeping (insomnia), tumors, tuberculosis, asthma, a skin condition marked by white patchiness (leukoderma), bronchitis, backache, fibromyalgia, menstrual problems, hiccups, Parkinson's disease, and chronic liver disease. It is also used to reduce side effects of medications used to treat cancer and schizophrenia. Ashwagandha is used to reduce levels of fat and sugar in the blood.

Ashwagandha is also used as an "adaptogen" to help the body cope with daily stress, and as a general tonic.

Some people also use ashwagandha for improving thinking ability, decreasing pain and swelling (inflammation), and preventing the effects of aging. It is also used for fertility problems in men and women and also to increase sexual desire.

Ashwagandha is applied to the skin for treating wounds, backache, and one-sided paralysis (hemiplegia).

The name Ashwagandha is from the Sanskrit language and is a combination of the word ashva, meaning horse, and gandha, meaning smell. The root has a strong aroma that is described as "horse-like."

In Ayurvedic, Indian, and Unani medicine, ashwagandha is described as "Indian ginseng." Ashwagandha is also used in traditional African medicine for a variety of ailments.

Don't confuse ashwagandha with Physalis alkekengi. Both are known as winter cherry.


Benefits of Ashwagandha

Modern studies have shown that ashwagandha might be beneficial for a number of uses. But a lot is still unknown about how the herb reacts within the human body. A majority of the studies so far — while very promising — have been done on animals.

Anxiety
It’s possible that ashwagandha has a calming effect on anxiety symptoms when compared to the drug lorazepam (a sedative and anxiety medication).

A study published in the journal Phytomedicine showed that the herb had the ability to reduce anxiety levels. In fact, the two treatments were found to offer a similar level of relief from anxiety as the above medication, suggesting ashwagandha might be as effective for reducing anxiety.

Arthritis
Ashwagandha is considered a pain reliever that acts on the nervous system to prevent pain signals from being sent. It’s also thought to have some anti-inflammatory properties. For this reason, some research has shown it to be effective in treating forms of arthritis.

One study in the Indian Journal of Medical Research found the herb to have strong potential as a treatment option for rheumatoid arthritis.

Heart health
Ashwagandha may have a variety of benefits to heart health, including treating:
  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • chest pain
  • heart disease

One human study published in the International Journal of Ayurveda Research found that using the herb for heart health (in combination with another Ayurvedic herb) was helpful in improving muscle strength and endurance.

Alzheimer’s treatment
According to the African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine, several studies have examined ashwagandha’s ability to slow or prevent loss of brain function in people with diseases like Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, and Parkinson’s.

As these diseases progress, parts of the brain and its connective paths become damaged, which leads to loss of memory and function. Research suggests that ashwagandha, when given to mice and rats during the early disease stages, may be able to offer protection.

Cancer
A few very promising studies found that ashwagandha might be able to stop cell growth in certain cancers. Animal research showed the ability to decrease a lung tumor. There are encouraging findings that suggest the herb has potential to slow human cancers including breast, lung, kidney, and prostate.


Side Effects of Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is generally considered well-tolerated in small to medium doses. But there haven’t been enough long-term studies to examine possible side effects.

Pregnant women should avoid using ashwagandha because it can cause early delivery.

Another potential concern for Ayurvedic herbs is that the manufacturers aren’t regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This means they aren’t held to the same standards as pharmaceutical companies and food producers.

One study funded by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health found that 21 percent of 193 products (made in both the United States and India) had levels of lead, mercury, and/or arsenic that were above what’s considered acceptable for human daily intake.


Dosing

The appropriate dose of ashwagandha depends on several factors such as the user’s age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for ashwagandha. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.



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